Robert King Carter's Correspondence and Diary

   A Collection Transcribed
        and Digitized
   by Edmund Berkeley, Jr.

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Electronic Text Center , University of Virginia Library


Letter from Robert Carter to John Pemberton, February [28,] 1732, enclosing a letter to Foster Cunliffe, March 1, 1732

     Robert Carter writes to Liverpool merchant John Pemberton, February [28,] 1732, to acknowledge the goods shipped in the True Blue arrived in very good order, and to thank him for handling several shipments of tobacco even though the merchant has been writing Carter that he no longer wishes to be in that trade. Carter sends a bill of lading (not present) for 50 hogsheads, and asks Pemberton to have Foster Cunliffe handle it if he will not. He adds remarks about the difficulties posed by the handling of tobacco required by the new inspection law, and sends a bill of exchange (not present). He encloses a letter to Foster Cunliffe about receiving and selling the shipment of tobacco if Pemberton will not handle it,

Letter from Robert Carter to John Pemberton, February [28,] 1732, enclosing a letter to Foster Cunliffe , March 1, 1732

-1 -

Rappahannock, [Lancaster County, Virginia]

Feb: 1731/2

Mr. John Pemberton


     I receiv'd your several letters by the True blue
the goods came to hand in very good order and I was very much pleased
to find you had so roundly taken into your hands my several Consignmts
of tobacco and altho' you continue your prohibitions upon me I have now
Adventured to send you 50 hogsheads more of my stemm'd tobo in the True
=Blue And herein comes a bill of Lading Capt. Berry tells me
You are in a very good state of health and Vigour and I will feed myself
with hopes that as you have been a person of great business all your
life the management of my small Affair in respect to the large
trade you have always been Accustomed to will prove but a small
Amusement and diversion to you but if no arguments will pre=
vail with you I must Submit to your delivering this concern into
Mr. Cunliff's hands to whom in such case I write under Your Cover
to receive it hoping You he will not take it any ill part that in
respect to our long acquaintance I have no inclination to go into
Other hands if I can help it

     This tobo hath pass'd the Inspection of our
new law every hogshead was cased & view'd by which means the tobacco
was very much tumbled and made something less sightly than it
was before and a great deal of Extraordinary trouble we meet with into
the bargain, I shall in some later letter send to You for much such [sic ] ano=
ther parcel of goods as I have had from you for some late years

              I heartily wish you a happy Old Age and
Am    Sirs

                            Your most humble Servt

I here inclose [d] to you a bill of Exchange
for £125"15"5 drawn by Mr. Charles Burgess on Mr. Cunliff which desire your

                                                 Rappah March 1st. 1731 [/2].
Mr: Foster Cuniff.

     I have now on board the True Blue Capn. Berry
50 hogsheads of my own crops strip leaf managed with all the Carefulness and
cleanlyness I am capable [of] which Notwithstanding Mr. Pembertons prohi
bition to me I send to him but if he absolutely refuses meddling with it it is
then consigned to youYou will not blame me for the earnestness I sh
=ew of continuing my business in the hands of an old friend and long acq

     If This tobo comes into your management I am apt
to beleive the most proper time of selling it may be to the first market
for which I beleive you will have time before you. there is bound one small
Ship more that I know of bound to Your port she will not depart in a Con=
siderable time and for what are to come they will meet with a great deal of
delay by our new Law I shall not give your further trouble at present
but remain

                  Your very humble Servt.


Source copy consulted: Letter book, 1731 July 9-1732 July 13 , Robert Carter Papers (acc. no. 3807), Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia.

Robert Carter generally used a return address of "Rappahannock" for the river on which he lived rather than "Corotoman," the name of his home, on his correspondence, especially to merchants abroad. The county and colony have been added for clarity.

[1] Foster Cunliffe (d. 1767) was a merchant and prominent citizen of Liverpool who worked to expand manufacturing and the capacity of the harbor; he served a number of terms as mayor. He and Richard Gildart undertook "a major reorginization of business with Maryland and Virginia . . . beginning in the early 1720's [they] sent numerous factors to the region." They established stores in which retail goods were sold, purchased the produce of the region, had it ready for loading when ships arrived, and also moved into the sale of slaves. ( James A. Picton, ed. Liverpool Municipal Archives and Records. . . . [Liverpool, 1907.] pp. 27, 31, 79, 90, 96, etc. and Paul G. Clemens. "The Rise of Liverpool, 1665-1750." Economic History Review. 24[May 1976]:211-225.

[2] The True Blue was commanded by Captain Berry in 1732; she may have been owned by Liverpool merchant John Pemberton. (See Carter to John Pemberton , March 1 , 1732, and Carter to Pemberton , April 12, 1732.)

[3] A bill of lading is "an official detailed receipt given by the master of a merchant vessel to the person consigning the goods, by which he makes himself responsible for their safe delivery to the consignee. This document, being the legal proof of ownership of the goods, is often deposited with a creditor as security for money advanced." ( Oxford English Dictionary Online . Oxford University Press. )

[4] The tobacco inspection act of 1730 was introduced and steered through the legislature by Lieutenant Governor Sir William Gooch. " The "bill called for the inspection and bonding at public warehouses of all tobacco shipped abroad; for the destruction of all unacceptable tobacco; for standardization of the size of hogsheads . . . ; for maintenance of detailed records to prevent smuggling; and for the circulation of warehouse receipts as legal tender in lieu of tobacco itself. . . ." Gooch also managed to obtain approval of the act in England. It went into effect 1731 August 1.(Billings. et al. Colonial Virginia: A History. pp. 236-39.)

[5] In the context of the letter, "cased" makes no sense for what Carter means is that each hogshread was opened, or un cased," and the tobacco thoroughly inspected and "tumbled."

[6] A bill of exchange is a kind of check or promissory note without interest. It is used primarily in international trade, and is a written order by one person to pay another a specific sum on a specific date sometime in the future. If the bill of exchange is drawn on a bank, it is called a bank draft. If it is drawn on another party, it is called a trade draft. Sometimes a bill of exchange will simply be called a draft, but whereas a draft is always negotiable (transferable by endorsement), this is not necessarily true of a bill of exchange. (See "Bill of Exchange" in the online Dictionary of Financial Scam Terms: the Truth vs. the Scam. )

[7] Liverpool

This text, originally posted in 2006, was revised April 1, 2016, to add footnotes and strengthen the modern language version text.